Genetic evidence suggests the origins of Indian caste populations

Discussion in 'Religion & Culture' started by Singh, May 14, 2013.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    The origins and affinities of the approximately 1 billion people living on the subcontinent of India have long been contested. This is owing, in part, to the many different waves of immigrants that have influenced the genetic structure of India. In the most recent of these waves, Indo-European-speaking people from West Eurasia entered India from the Northwest and diffused throughout the subcontinent. They purportedly admixed with or displaced indigenous Dravidic-speaking populations. Subsequently they may have established the Hindu caste system and placed themselves primarily in castes of higher rank. To explore the impact of West Eurasians on contemporary Indian caste populations, we compared mtDNA (400 bp of hypervariable region 1 and 14 restriction site polymorphisms) and Y-chromosome (20 biallelic polymorphisms and 5 short tandem repeats) variation in approximately 265 males from eight castes of different rank to approximately 750 Africans, Asians, Europeans, and other Indians. For maternally inherited mtDNA, each caste is most similar to Asians. However, 20%-30% of Indian mtDNA haplotypes belong to West Eurasian haplogroups, and the frequency of these haplotypes is proportional to caste rank, the highest frequency of West Eurasian haplotypes being found in the upper castes. In contrast, for paternally inherited Y-chromosome variation each caste is more similar to Europeans than to Asians. Moreover, the affinity to Europeans is proportionate to caste rank, the upper castes being most similar to Europeans, particularly East Europeans. These findings are consistent with greater West Eurasian male admixture with castes of higher rank. Nevertheless, the mitochondrial genome and the Y chromosome each represents only a single haploid locus and is more susceptible to large stochastic variation, bottlenecks, and selective sweeps. Thus, to increase the power of our analysis, we assayed 40 independent, biparentally inherited autosomal loci (1 LINE-1 and 39 Alu elements) in all of the caste and continental populations (approximately 600 individuals). Analysis of these data demonstrated that the upper castes have a higher affinity to Europeans than to Asians, and the upper castes are significantly more similar to Europeans than are the lower castes. Collectively, all five datasets show a trend toward upper castes being more similar to Europeans, whereas lower castes are more similar to Asians. We conclude that Indian castes are most likely to be of proto-Asian origin with West Eurasian admixture resulting in rank-related and sex-specific differences in the genetic affinities of castes to Asians and Europeans.

    Genetic evidence on the origins of Indian caste p... [Genome Res. 2001] - PubMed - NCBI
     
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  3. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    You @Singh are a descendant of the evil Eurasians.... :D.
     
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  4. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    It is quite possible that they are my descendants :D
     
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  5. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    A personal question @Singh if you dont mind - are you an NRI ?
     
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  6. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    No not at all, am a proud Delhite. Location: 011 ;)
     
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  7. dhananjay1

    dhananjay1 Regular Member

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    Funny how they are using words like European and Asian to describe the genes that have no relation to the continents. As if these genes grew out of the land of these continents.
     
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  8. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Now I am waiting for the "Indigenous Origin Theory" proponents to arrive here in hordes and slam the opening post by branding it the work of "Marxist Historians" (whatever that means). :lol:
     
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  9. drkrn

    drkrn Senior Member Senior Member

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    The research, claimed to be "the first and largest-ever genome-scale analysis of diverse Indian groups", is done by scientists from Hyderabad based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in collaboration with Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, USA.

    The researchers from harvard and ccmb wrote in the journal Nature that “Some historians have argued that caste in modern India is an ‘invention’ of colonialism, in the sense that it became more rigid under colonial rule. However, our results indicate that many current distinctions among groups are ancient and that strong endogamy [marriage within a group] must have shaped marriage patterns in India for thousands of years.”
    K Thangaraj popularly known as kt, of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad, and a leader of the study, said: “It is impossible to distinguish castes from tribes using the data. The genetics proves that they are not systematically different. This supports the view that castes grew directly out of tribal-like organisations during the formation of Indian society.”
    A team led by David Reich of the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Lalji Singh of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, India, has probed more than 560,000 SNPs across the genomes of 132 Indian individuals from 25 diverse ethnic and tribal groups dotted all over India2.
    The researchers showed that most Indian populations are genetic admixtures of two ancient, genetically divergent groups, which each contributed around 40-60% of the DNA to most present-day populations. One ancestral lineage — which is genetically similar to Middle Eastern, Central Asian and European populations — was higher in upper-caste individuals and speakers of Indo-European languages such as Hindi, the researchers found. The other lineage was not close to any group outside the subcontinent, and was most common in people indigenous to the Andaman Islands, a remote archipelago in the Bay of Bengal.

    The researchers also found that Indian populations were much more highly subdivided than European populations. But whereas European ancestry is mostly carved up by geography, Indian segregation was driven largely by caste. "There are populations that have lived in the same town and same village for thousands of years without exchanging genes," says Reich.
    The authors clearly demonstrate that most of the Indian populations they sampled are mixtures of two groups that they term ANI (Ancestral North Indians) and ASI (Ancestral South Indians).The degree of ANI:ASI mixture varies between 39% and 71% across India, and is evident in all caste and even tribal groups, and in both extant Indo-European and Dravidian speakers. However, greater ANI ancestry is significantly associated with Indo-European speakers and with traditionally 'higher' caste membership, even after controlling for language. This provides a model of how diversity within India came about. As such, its details are imperfect and will surely be contested, revised and improved; but its implications are significant.

    Indian Genome Variation Consortium J. Genet. 87, 3-20 (2008).
    Reich, D. et al. Nature 461, 489-494 (2009).
    Chakravarti, A. Nature 461, 487-488 (2009).
    Read full article here

    Related article
    Also Read it......Human migration and social group in india

    Human genetics: Tracing India's invisible threads



    CCMB: India’s caste system descended from two tribes of india :The new theory
     
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  10. drkrn

    drkrn Senior Member Senior Member

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    Widely believed theory of Indo-Aryan invasion, often used to explain early settlements in the Indian subcontinent is a myth, a new study by Indian geneticists says.

    The origin of genetic diversity found in South Asia is much older than 3,500 years when the Indo-Aryans were supposed to have migrated to India, a new study led by scientists from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, says. The study appeared in American Journal of Human Genetics on Friday.

    The theory of Indo-Aryan migration was proposed in mid-19th century by German linguist and Sanskrit scholar Max Muller.

    He had suggested that 3,500 years ago, a dramatic migration of Indo-European speakers from Central Asia played a key role in shaping contemporary South Asian populations and this was responsible for introduction of the Indo-European language family and the caste system in India.

    "Our study clearly shows that there was no genetic influx 3,500 years ago," said Dr Kumarasamy Thangaraj of CCMB, who led the research team, which included scientists from the University of Tartu, Estonia, Chettinad Academy of Research and Education, Chennai and Banaras Hindu University.

    "It is high time we re-write India's prehistory based on scientific evidence," said Dr Lalji Singh, former director of CCMB. "There is no genetic evidence that Indo-Aryans invaded or migrated to India or even something such as Aryans existed". Singh, vice-chancellor of BHU, is a coauthor.

    Researchers analysed some six lakh bits of genetic information in the form of SNPs drawn from DNA of over 1,300 individuals from 112 populations including 30 ethnic groups in India.

    The comparison of this data with genetic data of other populations showed that South Asia harbours two major ancestry components. One is spread in populations of South and West Asia, Middle East, Near East and the Caucasus. The second component is more restricted to South Asia and accounts for more than 50 per cent of the ancestry in Indian populations.

    "Both the ancestry components that dominate genetic variation in South Asia demonstrate much greater diversity than those that predominate West Eurasia. This is indicative of a more ancient demographic history and a higher long-term effective population size underlying South Asian genome variation compared to that of West Eurasia," researchers said.

    "The genetic component which spread beyond India is significantly higher in India than in any other part of world. This implies that this genetic component originated in India and then spread to West Asia and Caucasus," said Gyaneshwar Chaube of University of Tartu, Estonia.

    If any migration from Central Asia to South Asia took place, the study says, it should have introduced apparent signals of East Asian ancestry into India. "Because this ancestry component is absent from the region, we have to conclude that if such an event indeed took place, it occurred before the East Asian ancestry component reached central Asia," it said.


    Read more at: Indians are not descendants of Aryans, says new study : North, News - India Today


    Indians are not descendants of Aryans, says new study : North, News - India Today
     
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  11. Poseidon

    Poseidon Regular Member

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    Of course upper classes have more similarity to Europeans.
    Upper Castes have generally fairer complexion that SC's or ST's.

    There are many exceptions though.
     
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  12. drkrn

    drkrn Senior Member Senior Member

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    the Indian history is a very long dating at least few thousands of years.last known major epic is Mahabharata in which sri Krishna is center of attraction is at least 5300 years old

    no major European civilization on comparison to Indian exist before or on par at that time.correct me if i am wrong
    inter mixing of tribes and people is always present across for ages as people are nomads 60000-100000years back.and nothing like upper caste or lower existed,only strong and weak

    formation of castes in Indian sub continent are due to nature of job taken by the people rather by birth
     
  13. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    What kind of generalization is that :wat:
    I belong to a so called "upper caste" and am hardly fair in complexion.
    My community and our ancestors in all their depictions hardly look anywhere similar to what they say 'fair skinned'.
    Till the point our history goes back, we have always been in the northwest Indian region.

    Regards,
    Virendra
     
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  14. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    From what I know, you are right.


    If one looks at history, it is usually the nomads who typically invaded the more sedentary and static civilizations. There are plenty of examples, like Altan Khan invading China, or the Cossacks invading the Rus Principalities.

    Correct. It is basically the Varna System which is believed to have morphed into Caste System. Is there a possibility that victorious people or more powerful clans placed themselves at the helm of society? The Greeks did the same thing in Persia.
     
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  15. Poseidon

    Poseidon Regular Member

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    There are exceptions but look at this skin complexion map:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. opesys

    opesys Regular Member

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  17. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    Kokanastha Brahmins:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    I rest my case. :D
     
  18. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    They look like regular Indians to me, maybe just a tad bit fairer than average.

    The last one looks like a computer graphic.
     
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  19. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    If you think all Indians are fair skinned and have light coloured eyes, maybe we live in parallel universes?? :hmm: :sad:
     
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  20. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    I know guys from Andhra who look like that. Not uncommon by any means, though as I said, not "average" either.
     
  21. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    You will find that these features are far more common among KoBras (Kokanastha Brahmins) than in the general population.
     

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